The last few months have seen a rush of new laptops and tablets designed to show off the new features in Windows 8. However, business users tend to be fairly conservative when it comes to new operating systems. With that in mind, Toshiba’s Portégé R930-1CX laptop focuses primarily on the needs of business users who require security and reliability above all else. See also: The 8 best laptops: What's the best laptop you can buy in 2013?
Like most of the models in Toshiba’s Portégé range, the R930 ships with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed. However, this particular ‘1CX’ model also hedges its bets by including a separate copy of Windows 8 Pro on DVD. Take a look at our Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon review too.
The R930 isn’t particularly exciting to look at, consisting of an unassuming matt-black chassis with 13.3-inch screen. However, the magnesium casing is both sturdy and lightweight, and well suited to life on the road. Visit: Video: Hands on with the Alienware 14 'Haswell' gaming laptop.
It’s a little too large to qualify as an Ultrabook as the inclusion of a DVD drive means that it measures a relatively portly 26.6 mm thick when folded flat. But even with the DVD drive the R930 still only weighs 1.5 kg so it’s certainly light enough for business users who travel a lot.
And, to keep your important data safe when you’re on the road, the R930 includes a fingerprint scanner for secure logins. You can also lock and encrypt individual files with a simple right-click, so that only your fingerprint can unlock the file once more.
It’s well connected too. Along with the ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking, the R930 includes a slot for inserting a 3G SIM card for mobile broadband.
It also includes support for Intel’s WiDi (wireless display) technology for wireless presentations, along with conventional HDMI and VGA video outputs too. And, at a pinch, the bright 1366 x 768 display provides a wide enough viewing angle for an impromptu PowerPoint presentation with some colleagues sitting around a table. The speakers are weak and tinny, even by budget laptop standards.
Performance is respectable, rather than outstanding, with the 2.5 GHz Intel Core i3-3120M processor and 320 GB hard drive helping it to a score of 2452 points in the PCMark 7 benchmark test.
That’s not bad going for an Ivy Bridge Core i3 processor, and it will be more than adequate for running MS Office and other business apps.
The R930 can even manage some casual gaming when you’re relaxing in a hotel room. It only managed 11 fps when playing Batman Arkham City at maximum screen resolution and graphics settings, but when dropped down to 1280 x 720 pixels and Low graphics we saw a just-playable 27 fps.
The other advantage of that Core i3 processor is that the R930’s battery life is quite good. We got a 6 hours out of it when using Wi-Fi to stream video through BBC iPlayer. Routine office program work like Word and Excel may let it last longer.
We do have a few complaints, though. The keyboard is firm, but a little cramped, and with a price-tag around £1100 we expect an SSD drive to provide snappier performance.